A fall table reaches the sublime with the addition of a pumpkin pie.
And, when a mouth-watering pie can be made with a vegetable, all is right with the world! With hearty doses of beta carotene, potassium, Vitamin C, calcium and fiber, the sweet and tender meat of a fall pumpkin can add tremendous flavor and nutritional value to any dish, savory or sweet. Actually part of the winter squash family, what is called a pumpkin and what is called a squash varies from country to country. In the U.S., pumpkin generally refers to large, fleshy orange squashes that are traditionally used for pies, roasting or carving. Eating pumpkins tend to be smaller in size, darker in color and contain more sugar that their carving counterparts. Recipes, however, do not discriminate based on semantics—pumpkin and squash are often interchangeable depending on availability or quantity needed.
Select pumpkins that are heavy and unblemished. Whole pumpkins can store well in a cool, ventilated space. Thick skinned varieties will last longer than the thin skinned pumpkins. Once cut and/or peeled pumpkin is very perishable and should be refrigerated and eaten as soon as possible. For ultimate flavor, roast or steam pumpkins—never boil.